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B2.3 Regulatory capacity

Characteristics

A clear regulatory framework is an important instrument for IWRM, but ensuring compliance is often difficult. Effective regulation requires human and technical capacity. For instance, to carry out monitoring effectively, an organisation requires the equipment (and the ability to use it) to uncover and deal with non-compliance. Sufficient manpower, expertise and data are essential for the application of the different regulatory tools (C6) and economic instruments (C7). For example, to improve water quality, a regulatory agency needs to have reliable water quality data and staff trained to interpret these data correctly. An economic regulator needs capacity in financial analysis and access to the necessary information. Regulation, moreover, requires fact finding and investigation. All these tasks need to be underpinned by financial capacity.

Important tools to ensure regulatory capacity are a well-developed legislative framework (A2), the presence of enforcement agencies, mechanisms and structures (B1.5), information and communication systems (C8) and education and training (C4), and water management indicators (C1.5).

Plans for regulatory capacity building must be preceded by an assessment of current capacity, and the establishment of regulatory instruments (C5). This assessment needs to be linked to water resources assessment (C1) and to policy making (A1) and planning (C2). Capacity building should include the building of legitimacy with those regulated.

Lessons learned

  • Experience shows that capacity building that emphasises skills rather than knowledge transfer can improve the performance of regulatory organisations.
  • Training of trainers programmes have been shown to be highly cost-effective (B2.4).
  • Regulatory capacity building can be seen as integral to the development of regulations themselves. If regulatory capacity building receives early attention, the risk of ineffective regulation can be minimised.
  • Efforts to ensure that regulatory staff accept the legitimacy of their task, and place emphasis on integrity, are key to building strong regulatory organisations.
  • Legitimacy with those regulated is important for ensuring acceptability and compliance.



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